North Haven Fair has plenty of crowd-pleasing events on final day

North Haven Fair has plenty of crowd-pleasing events on final day


NORTH HAVEN — The North Haven Fair filled the air with the smell of fried food, the sound of children laughing, the roar of engines from the tractor pull, and live music as it came to a close on Sunday.

“It brings everyone together for a good time and good fun,” said North Haven resident Courtney Grimm, who came with her two children, Hannah, 6, and Olivia, 13. “It shows off North Haven.”

Grimm spoke inside the home arts building, where community artists could submit their work in the hopes of winning a first-place ribbon. The two girls, who explored exhibits as their mother spoke, like to create their own arts and crafts, and quickly gravitated to a fairy tale scene atop a large mushroom with a dwarf sleeping at its base.

Grimm said her daughters are planning to create their own mysterious little displays, working off the mushroom as inspiration.

“They’re always looking for new projects they can start together,” Grimm said.

The fair featured the usual rides, with a Ferris wheel rising out of the center of the fairgrounds, surrounded by small rides and a course for the pig race behind it. Next to the petting zoo, children could ride an elephant and see other exotic animals, including a camel.

Fairgoers could buy tickets for a 50/50 raffle, with half going to the local fire department for training and equipment. Fair organizers also placed donation boxes around the fairgrounds for donations to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief.

Durham resident Al Kostuk has been coming to the fair since the 1950s and ’60s, back when he was as young as the children who gathered around him to see him hammer and twist metal into a wall hook for jackets.

“Anything with red hot fire and iron, they’re interested in,” Kostuk said. He worked as a mechanic for years and picked up blacksmithing along the way so he could create his own tools. Nearby, children were helping his brother spin a half-dozen threads into a rope.

The fair also featured some high schoolers who work with their hands, albeit on the other end of the technological scale. Students from Xavier High School, a Catholic school in Middletown, handed the controls of their robot over to children who gleefully drove it in circles.

“Their eyes light up and they’re like this is so cool,” said Frank Dworak, 17, of Cromwell. “We really just want kids to get into engineering. We love it.”

Nearly everyone mentioned the Marvelous Mutts as one of their favorite attractions this year. Rescue dogs trained to perform tricks jump through hoops and catch Frisbee discs thrown by volunteers from the audience.

Tish Assante, a North Haven resident, said she travesl far and wide to go to fairs and see the crafts.

“I prefer the handmade, artisan things,” she said. As she spoke, her granddaughter, Viviana Nadal-Villano, who came from Brooklyn with her family, ran in circles like the dogs they had just been watching. Nadal-Villano said the dogs were here favorite part of the fair, although she also said that she liked “pretty much everything.”

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